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seventh vial, far be it from me to attempt to unfold either the time or the particular manner of them, beyond what Christ himself, the apostles, and the prophet, have said respecting them. So much, we may humbly conclude, it must be the Divine will, should be studied and understood, in a good degree, by every true believer of the word of God, which commands us to 56 search the Scriptures," as the only guide to a true knowledge of Christ ; for, says he,* " They are they which testify of me." Besides, he enjoins us to be in daily expectation of those great eventst ; "watch, therefore, “ for ye know not when the Son of Man com« eth." And so the prophett; - Behold, I « come as a thief: blessed is he that watcheth, 6 and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, " and they see his shame.”
With a mind humbly impressed with this idea, I shall proceed to the consideration of the awful and important events foretold under the seventh and last vial of the wrath of God.
It may be seen throughout the Revelation, that when the prophet enters upon the events of a new period, or upon a new subject, his method is to take a brief view of the prominent features of it, previously to his narration in detail. To give one example. In the fourtcenth and fifteenth chapters he briefly refers to the principal events of all the seven vials : but as the seventh vial was to contain the last most important and most deci
St. John, v. 39.,
† St. Matt. xxv. 13.
Rev. xvi. 15.
sive of the judgments of God, he reviews the great outlines in the texts under immediate consideration, before he proceeds to detail the events of this grand and awful subject. And here he briefly foretels a great league and conspiracy against the church of Christ, which is to take place previous to his coming, describes the parties to that confederacy, and mentions the place in which they shall gather their mighty hosts together in battle; the great day of the battle, the pouring out of the seventh vial, and the immense destruction of the enemies of Christ, which shall follow.
He begins this review with a description of the parties to this conspiracy. And as this description seems to be the key to unlock the literal sense of many parts of his subject, I shall give it a particular consideration. He tells us, that he saw “three unclean spirits, like frogs, come “out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the “ mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the “false prophet. For they are the spirits of devils « working iniracles, which go forth to the kings .“ of the earth, and of the whole world, to gather " them together to the battle of the great day of “God Almighty.”
Let us, in the first place, inquire what the prophet means by this “ dragon,” this “ beast," and this “ false prophet;” and who are these “kings of the earth," and of the whole world? To solve these questions, we must apply to the Scriptures, for they are the best expositors of themselves, and when rightly understood, are infallible expositors. I have said before, that the “ Revelation" is a prophetic history o fthe church of Christ, in, which three temporal enemies and opposers of the word of God are mentioned, viz. pagan idolatry, apostacy, and atheism. The first has been the persecutor of the church of Christ, from the beginning up to these times; the second, during the course of more than the last twelve centuries; and the third, for the last ten vears. The power of the first was so reduced by the providence of God, in converting pagan Rome to the truths of Christianity in the fourth century, that it has been destitute of ability to continue its persecutions ever since. The powers of the second, in like manner, have been, and are to be so weakened by the events and plagues of the first six vials, that chey are never again to be able separately to oppose the progress of the word of God: for there is no intimation given by the prophet, that they shall utterly be destroyed by the judgments. of those vials. On the contrary, we shall presently see from the text, that they shall, at some future time, redouble their efforts to destroy the Gospel of Christ, and even to prevent his coming. Hitherto each of them have made the attempt separately, and at different times; but, hereafter made sensible of their inability, and despairing of success by their separate efforts, they are to enter into a great confederacy, under the patronage of Satan, to accomplish their ungodly purpose. · Who, or what kings or states, in what parts of the world resident, or over what nations spreading, are to distinguish themselves in this grand confederacy, are events of which the prophet gives no direct information; and therefore we. must wait for any certain knowledge of them, until the events themselves shall come to pass. However, we have reason, to be collected from the text, which induces us to believe, that they will be the same enemies of Christianity who have heretofore opposed it, and to which we have repeatedly referred. Corresponding with this, the prophet informs us, that out of the mouth of this three-headed monster, or out of their councils, there shall come « three unclean spirits,” which he compares to “ frogs” (the ugliest, filthiest, and noisiest of all creatures), to describe the principles and wickedness of the three confederated powers. For in a “frog” we may see the deformed principles of polytheism, or pagan idolatry, which though it acknowledges the existence of one supreme Spirit of God, yet teaches the adoration of beasts, and the most disgusting and distorted images made with hands. To the filthy slime which covers the body of a frog, and the long continued gratification of its lustful passion, may be compared the extreme sensuality of Mohamedan and papal apostacy; and the noisy and discordant jargon of the notes of the frog, appositely represents the unintelligible nonsense, the lies, the vaunting threats, blasphemies, and all the anarchy of atheism.
The conspiracy being determined upon by these three enemies of God, and his Christ, they are to send forth their ambassadors, cunning, crafty, and deceitful; for they “ are the spirits of devils working miracles," to go to the kings of the earth first; that is, in the literal sense, to the kings or states professing atheism. Having en
gaged them in the conspiracy, these emissaries of Satan are to proceed to the kings of the whole world* ; evidently meaning to all the carnal, unregenerate, and ungodly kings and states of the world; for so the unbelievers in the word of God are styled in many parts of the New Testamentt. · The infernal league concluded, “he (Satan) « shall gather the kings of the earth, and of the " whole world together, unto a place called in the “ Hebrew tongue Armageddon.” The place is evidently so named by the prophet, to intimate the immense overthrow of the ungodly, which shall be made in this great day: for the word “ Armageddon” being interpreted means, The mountain of destruction, or the great destruction of the PROUD and UNGODLY. Upon this tremendous occasion, we may suppose, from the tenor of the texts, that an immense multitude of hardened and unrepenting liars, fornicators, adulterers, thieves, robbers, traitors, assassins, murderers, idolaters, and blasphemers of the name of God, a mighty host of Pagans, Mohamedans, Papists, and Atheists, “shall be gathered together to battle" against Christ, and the pure remnant of his church.
The time of this battle, whenever it may be, (5 for it is to come as a thiet”) is called “ the great day of God Almighty ;" that is, the great
we in this w of in Phet, to
* It is a remarkable fact, and ought surely to increase the veneration of the subjects of such a prince, that the Sovereign of these British dominions was among the very few, if not the only ruling power that the agents of atheism, &c. did not dare to tempt to bring over to their party.
† St. John viii. i John iv. 4. Ibid. v. 5: